Pop might love a reinvention, but it was hard to get excited by the one attempted by Jamie Treays, AKA Jamie T, on 2014’s Carry on the Grudge. Gone were the gobby street-poet pronouncements of his first two, well received albums, replaced by something closer to introspective sad boy indie. Treays described that shift in style as “like tying my hand behind my back and trying to write with my left hand”, and at times it certainly felt like the work of an artist holding something back.
Trick, Treays’ fourth album, doesn’t entirely abandon his recent direction – string-laden album closer Self Esteem, for example, is as downbeat as anything attempted on Grudge – but it does reconcile it with the chipper tone and sense of musical adventure of his early work. Abrasive grime baselines (Tin Foil Boy) bounce against chirpy punk singalongs (Tescoland). As ever, so much depends on your tolerance for Treays’ desire to make “big statements” – the noise assault of Drone Strike feels a little too on-point – but this at least feels like Jamie T is being himself again.